The title chosen for the 2019 to 2020 St. Peter Parish Project is “Exploring our Heritage; Enriching Communities”. Exactly what is meant by “heritage” and why should we seek to explore it. With regards to the word “heritage” used as a noun, Dictionary.com defines this as either “something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition” e.g “a national heritage of honor, pride and courage” OR “something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot or portion”, e.g “a heritage of poverty and suffering”. Used adjectivally, “heritage” means “noting or relating to a product, place etc. that evokes a nostalgic sense of tradition or history” e.g, “a heritage site”.
Reference has already been made to how exploring one’s heritage in the sense of seeking to deepen knowledge thereof, can bring about a greater appreciation of self by virtue of understanding one’s roots and better appreciating from whence we as a people came. Cumulative effort at achieving this goal would lead to the development of communities that are enriched, with regards to their self-esteem and the “mirror image” which they hold.
Our St. Peter heritage can be seen as being our built heritage as well as our unique cultural expression. The idea behind this Project is to ensure that at least seventy-five (75) per cent of the approximately eleven thousand, five hundred residents of this parish become much more aware of what constitutes the St. Peter brand. The Project Committee feels that it is incumbent on us to go out into the schools and into the wider community and educate residents of St. Peter and by extension of Barbados about our patrimony. Within the schools, we are proposing the formation of groups of interested pupils who will be our Heritage Ambassadors.
The placing of relevant signage bearing historical information at sites of interest across the parish is a goal which we aim to achieve with the collaboration of corporate Barbados. We also intend to be involved in ensuring that the 1997 twinning between Speightstown and Charleston, South Carolina is more tangibly reflected by way of instituting cultural exchanges. Revival of the former Arbib nature trail is another activity which is high on our agenda as well as the training of competent tour guides to facilitate these adventures into our heritage.
By the end of this Project in late 2020, our aim is for most residents of St. Peter to be much more aware of our heritage assets ranging from the history of our older churches and of the many windmills dotting the St. Peter landscape; the planter-merchant oligarchy which controlled the parish for some three hundred and twelve years; the fortifications once used for the protection of Speightstown; the only battle which ever occurred in Barbados at Battaleys; the direct commercial contact with Bristol in England from as early as the 1640s; our former Speightstown schooners and Pond Boats; the Barbados- Carolinas Connection and how this relates to the architecture of Arlington House Museum. We would expect also that all St. Peter residents of school age should be able to explain much of the history of Barbados as illustrated in the island’s largest mural at Prince Alfred Lane in Speightstown.
For the fiftieth anniversary of this island’s Independence, the 2016 Parish Independence Committee organized an outstanding Awards Presentation in which fifty St. Peter residents from various spheres of human endeavor were honored by becoming recipients of the Rampus Awards. At the time, consideration was given to presenting these awards every five years. However, with Vision 2020: We Gatherin’ taking place next year, we wish in February 2020 to be able to present another twenty worthy recipients with this award. Also, on our horizon is the intention to lobby for our St. Peter born politicians/statesmen such as Kenneth Ryerson “Doc’ Husbands, first black speaker of the House of Assembly, to be posthumously honored in a significant way – so too the Honorable Owen Arthur, Barbados sixth Prime Minister and Sir Frank Walcott, trade unionist and National Hero.
There are many sustainable elements which will result from this Project. The re-opening and continuing maintenance of the Arbib Trail at a time when many more persons would have an interest in hiking along it is one such sustainable aspect. So too would be the establishment of links with the Carolinas and with Bristol in England. Additionally, we would have caused the legacies of our statesmen to become better etched in the psyche of our residents.
The four Ps of marketing – product, packaging, promotion and placement – will be at the core of this Project and will be monitored closely as we package and promote our first-class heritage product by placing it on the radar locally, regionally and internationally.